This creamy coconut Lentil Curry is cozy and comforting and infused with warm Indian spices. Make in an Instant Pot or on your stovetop and serve over a bed of baby spinach,  basmati rice or with homemade naan bread! Vegan.

This Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry can be made in an Instant Pot or on the stove top. Infused with fragrant Indian spices, this recipe is not only delicious, it is is vegan and gluten free! #currylentils #indianlentils #lentilcurry #veganlentilcurry #instantpot #vegan #vegancurry #veganlentils #eatclean #cleaneating #plantbased

We cannot always change the circumstances, but we can always adjust our consciousness. ~ Radhanath Swami

This flavorful Lentil Curry is easy to make and perfect for busy weeknights! Wholesome, nourishing, and vegan, yet utterly rich and comforting! Serve it over fluffy basmati rice– or try it over big bowl of fresh baby spinach… so tasty! My husband Brian prefers scooping it up with freshly made, soft buttery naan bread, and yes, that is an option too. You could also just serve it as a soup!

Lentil Curry | 45-second video

What you’ll need!

This lentil curry recipe calls for a combination of wholesome and flavorful ingredients.

  1. Lentils: Lentils are the star ingredient of this dish, providing a good source of plant-based protein and fiber. They add a hearty texture to the curry. We use brown lentils here.
  2. Coconut Milk: Creamy coconut milk is used to give the curry a luscious and rich consistency. It adds a hint of sweetness and balances out the flavors. We use full fat coconut milk for a thicker consistency.
  3. Indian Spices: The recipe combines an array of warm and aromatic Indian spices such as turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, and garam masala. These spices infuse the dish with the distinct flavors of Indian cuisine. Feel free to use whole seeds ( cumin seeds, coriander seeds) toast and grind for more flavor.
  4. Onion, Carrot, Garlic, and Ginger: These vegetables are sautéed to create a flavorful savory base for the curry. They add depth and a hint of sweetness to the dish.
  5. Optional Toasted Turmeric Coconut Flakes: These delicious coconut flakes add a delightful crunch and a beautiful golden color to the dish. They can be used as a topping for added texture and visual appeal.

Instant Pot Instructions (see notes for stovetop)

To make this in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, sauté the onion, carrot, garlic, ginger and spices using saute function. Add water or vegetable broth and the lentils. Close the lid. This Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry can be made in an Instant Pot or on the stove top. Infused with fragrant Indian spices, this recipe is not only delicious, it is is vegan and gluten free! #currylentils #indianlentils #lentilcurry #veganlentilcurry #instantpot #vegan #vegancurry #veganlentils #eatclean #cleaneating #plantbased

Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes, and manually release. Yes, it is very fast! Small lentils will cook even faster!

This Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry can be made in an Instant Pot or on the stove top. Infused with fragrant Indian spices, this recipe is not only delicious, it is is vegan and gluten free! #currylentils #indianlentils #lentilcurry #veganlentilcurry #instantpot #vegan #vegancurry #veganlentils #eatclean #cleaneating #plantbased

After the lentils are tender, add the coconut milk after! Taste and adjust salt and heat (add cayenne pepper) to your taste!

This Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry can be made in an Instant Pot or on the stove top. Infused with fragrant Indian spices, this recipe is not only delicious, it is is vegan and gluten free! #currylentils #indianlentils #lentilcurry #veganlentilcurry #instantpot #vegan #vegancurry #veganlentils #eatclean #cleaneating #plantbased

Stovetop Instructions

  1. To make Lentil Curry on the stovetop allow about 45 minutes.  
  2. Heat oil in a large dutch oven or heavy bottom pot. Saute onion over medium heat until fragrant and golden, 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, ginger and carrots and cook another 3 minutes until you smell the garlic. Add salt, spices, tomato paste and stir for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the water, scraping up the browned bits. Add an additional ¼ cup water (so a total 2 ¼ cups water) and add the lentils.
  5. Bring to a boil, cover, then simmer on low heat until lentils are cooked through, about 15-25 minutes depending on the size of the lentils. Stir in the coconut milk.
  6. Adjust salt and heat (adding more cayenne pepper or chili flakes) to taste.

Lentil Curry Serving Suggestions

Serve lentil curry over warm basmati rice, over cauliflower rice, or over a big bowl of baby spinach, or with buttery naan, or all of the above! Top with cilantro and fresh chilies if you like! Garnish with optional Turmeric Coconut Chips below!

This Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry can be made in an Instant Pot or on the stove top. Infused with fragrant Indian spices, this recipe is not only delicious, it is is vegan and gluten free! #currylentils #indianlentils #lentilcurry #veganlentilcurry #instantpot #vegan #vegancurry #veganlentils #eatclean #cleaneating #plantbased

Turmeric Coconut Chips

Turmeric Coconut Chips add amazing texture and flavor! To make the Turmeric Coconut Chips, simply toast coconut flakes in a skillet with turmeric for 2-3 minutes! A delicious, crunchy topping for the creamy lentils. You know me and how much I love different textures in food!  They add so much! These never seem to make it to the next day, unfortunately!

This Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry can be made in an Instant Pot or on the stove top. Infused with fragrant Indian spices, this recipe is not only delicious, it is is vegan and gluten free! #currylentils #indianlentils #lentilcurry #veganlentilcurry #instantpot #vegan #vegancurry #veganlentils #eatclean #cleaneating #plantbased

Storing The Lentil Curry

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat in a microwave or on the stove.

This Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry can be made in an Instant Pot or on the stove top. Infused with fragrant Indian spices, this recipe is not only delicious, it is is vegan and gluten free! #currylentils #indianlentils #lentilcurry #veganlentilcurry #instantpot #vegan #vegancurry #veganlentils #eatclean #cleaneating #plantbased

This lentil curry is so satisfying and nourishing, perfect for the colder months when you are craving something a little heartier.

More Lenitl recipes you’ll love!

For more Globally-inspired Instant Pot Recipes check out some of my favorites here!


On the homefront. As some of you know, I went to India. It has was an amazing trip on so many levels. And as you can imagine, it was food heaven. The flavors!

I wanted to share a personal experience here with you about my trip. I brought my parent’s ashes to a very old city called Varanasi, where the River Ganges runs through. Hindus believe that when you release the ashes of the dead into their sacred river, souls will go straight to the Divine and be liberated from the cycle of reincarnation, a term they call “Moksha”.

I loved this idea and yearned for this for my parents. What I couldn’t predict, was how the act would actually affect me. It was a much-needed release, a letting go on a deeper level, that until the moment it happened, I didn’t even know I needed.

I left there feeling joyful, light and alive. I felt a sense of moksha (freedom, liberation) in my heart. I am constantly amazed at how wise are our souls are, and how they lead us directly to the experiences we need.

No life is without heartache. And sometimes, holding on to these for too long, we prevent ourselves from fully feeling all the beauty, aliveness and love that surrounds us right now.  This heartache for me was like a very subtle grey filter, muting the colorful brilliance and experience of being alive. It was so subtle I hardly knew it was there.

Yet it was. And now it is not.

Now, I don’t believe you need to go to Varanasi specifically to have this experience. But the ritual was meaningful and I think we could create this wherever we are. Releasing pain doesn’t mean we stop loving those who are gone. It frees up our heart to love even more. At least that is how it feels to me.

xoxo

Sylvia

Hope you are staying warm and cozy this week.

xoxo

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
This Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry can be made in an Instant Pot or on the stove top. Infused with fragrant Indian spices, this recipe is not only delicious, it is is vegan and gluten free! #currylentils #indianlentils #lentilcurry #veganlentilcurry #instantpot #vegan #vegancurry #veganlentils #eatclean #cleaneating #plantbased

Lentil Curry Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 65 reviews
  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: vegan, main, stew, instant pot
  • Method: instant pot
  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This Coconut Lentil Curry can be made in an Instant Pot in about 30 minutes or on the stovetop.  Infused with fragrant Indian spices, this recipe is not only delicious, it is is vegan and gluten free! Serve it over a bed of spinach, basmati rice or with homemade naan bread!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 12 tablespoons coconut oil, or ghee(ghee tastes best)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, rough chopped ( 34 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons ginger root, finely chopped
  • 2 cups carrots, diced (or sub 1 cup celery)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin (seeds or ground)
  • 2 teaspoons coriander ( seeds or ground)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric ( or 1 tablespoon fresh grated)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (not smoked, or sub chili powder)
  • 2 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves (optional, but elevates)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/43/4 teaspoon cayenne (or chili flakes) more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste ( or add 1 small-medium diced tomato)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup brown lentils (or large green- do not use split)
  • 13.5 ounce can coconut milk (ADD AFTER YOU COOK THE LENTILS)

To further elevate: add 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds and 1 teaspoon fennel seeds.

Optional Additions: baby spinach, cilantro, turmeric toasted coconut, fresh tomatoes, avocado slices, fresh chilies, naan bread, fluffy basmati rice.


Instructions

  1. Set Instant Pot to the Saute function, heat the oil and saute the onion, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and carrots, saute 3 more minutes, stirring.  Add all the spices, salt and tomato paste, stir for 1 minute. Add the water and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  2. Add the brown lentils, give a stir and pressure cook on high for 10 minutes. If using other lentils, see notes. Manually release!
  3. Stir in the coconut milk.
  4. At this point, if you wanted, you could also add other veggies- peas, cauliflower, or a handful of spinach to wilt.
  5. Re-taste for salt, adding more if necessary (especially if adding a lot of veggies)  and add more Garam Masala to taste, or chili flakes. If it seems watery, saute or keep on warm, uncovered for a bit. The Coconut Lentil Curry will also thicken slightly as it cools.
  6. Serve over a bed of baby spinach, over basmati rice (or both) or with homemade Naan.
  7. To make the Turmeric Coconut Chips, heat a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add ¼ cup coconut flakes and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon ground turmeric. Dry fry for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly until fragrant and lightly toasted.  Turn off heat.  These are too easy to burn, so don’t walk away!

Notes

STOVE TOP : To make on the stove top(about 45 mins total)  heat  oil in a large dutch oven or heavy bottom pot. Saute onion over medium high heat until fragrant and golden, 4-5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and carrots and cook another 3 minutes until you smell the garlic. Add salt, spices, tomato paste and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add the water, scraping up the browned bits. Add an additional ¼ cup water (so a total 2 ¼ cups water)  and the lentils. Bring to a boil, cover, then simmer on low heat until lentils are cooked through, about 25 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk. Adjust heat ( adding more cayenne or chili flakes. )

*** If using smaller lentils, decrease pressure cooking time. 5-7 minutes???

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 312
  • Sugar: 3.2 g
  • Sodium: 628.1 mg
  • Fat: 18.8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 15.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 29.8 g
  • Fiber: 5.3 g
  • Protein: 10.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 5.1 mg

Share this with the world!

Subscribe
to get recipes via email

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

Comments

    1. It will get mushy. I almost would roast it separately or pan sear it separately and then add after. 🙂 Probably not what you wanted to hear….sorry.

  1. p.p.s. I almost forgot! When adjusting the seasonings I decided I was in the mood for some sweetness and I chopped up 2 dates and made a paste in some warmwater and added– I would do that again, we all loved the mild sweetness, though it was great without too.






  2. Wow. If I could give this 6 stars I would! What a hit! So flavorful. I used French lentils, doubled the tomato paste, and used light cocounut milk, added chopped fresh cilantro towards the end of cooking, topped with the toasted turmeric coconut slices. I added sliced up cauliflower with the onions which seemed to vanish into the delicious mix. Towards the end I added peas–about a cup. I could not find dried fenugreek leaves so I substituted 1 tsp of fenugreek seeds and toasted them slightly and added towards the end, since I read that with too much heat & cooking the can become bitter. I did use at least one cup of additional water so it would not burn. I brought this a dinner party and people raved!






  3. Fantastic! I will be making this again. Would be good with some diced pumpkin or squash. I did add some cherry tomatoes from the garden and also chopped jalapeno in addition to the coconut chips. I made this on the stove and needed to add a little more water and time to get the lentils to my desired softness. So yum!!






  4. Hi! Love the recipes on your site! I am out of brown lentils. Could I sub red or black lentils instead? Thanks so much!!

    1. Hi! Thanks! So…Red lentils are usually split- and if so, I do not recommend it, it will turn to mush. Black lentils are usually tiny, so this would greatly shorten cooking time. I might even do them on the stove if very small so they don’t overcook.

  5. Hi Sylvia: 1. If using frozen fenugreek leaves, should I use the same amount as dried? 2. Can I use yellow mustard seeds instead of black? 3. Also, I’m out of canned coconut milk, but have coconut flakes and could make my own milk in blender. How can I substitute for canned milk? Should I add the milk earlier, to cook with lentils, with less water perhaps? Thank you!!!

    1. I’m not sure the blending of coconut flakes would give you that thick creamy texture you want for this recipe, but I guess you could try? I just envision it separating and becoming grainy. The yellow mustard seeds should be ok though. I’d use roughly the same amount of frozen fenugreek, maybe increase it slightly?

  6. Excellent recipe, maybe the best curry I’ve ever made at home. I made the stovetop version. Didn’t change anything, except found I had to add a little more water and simmer a little longer to get the lentils done. Served with rice and naan.






  7. I am giving this recipe 5 stars because the spice mix is a winner AND because I mangled the actual remaining recipe so much that it really deserves 6 stars for flexibility! I didn’t even use lentils but opted for chicken. I added a TON of vegetables and it was really good. Next time, lentils, for sure. I appreciate this site very much as I move back into eating MUCH less meat (and leading by example for the other members of the fam). Thank you!






  8. Delicious 😋 I made this on the stove top – perfect on a cold rainy day in Sydney! I also added some pumpkin and subbed in a little coconut cream as I didn’t have coconut milk.






  9. Delicious!! Made a couple
    Changes based on what I had in the house. I didn’t add coconut milk (kids don’t like coconut milk) and I added a little honey. I also left out fenugreek and nutmeg(don’t like them or have them). Oh my!! It was perfect and delicious! Oh and I used veggie bullion in the water. This is going in my binder to make again and again! Thank you!






  10. Wow, this dish has so much flavor. I am confused by the comment that mentions bland. I cook and eat a lot of indian food. I did use the fenugreek leaves as they are an Indian staple. I am out of ghee so I substituted with butter. I used french green lentils. I love extra spice so I tossed in a serrano pepper. I used a mix of carrots and celery, added some green chard and some of the carrot tops before pressure cooking for 10 minutes as stated. I allowed for most of the pressure to release naturally (30 minutes), upon removing the lid I used an immersion blend to add some extra thickness and to break up the chard…. Amazing! Thank you so much! I forgot to add some black mustard seeds, definitely adding those to the next batch 🙂






  11. I just made this recipe. I followed the recipe to the letter. The lentils were not fully cooked when I open the lid after manually decompressing. I put the lid back on and left it for about 15 minutes. They were done when I reopened. I found this recipe to be a bit too spicy. I was trying to figure out what I found overpowering. I only used 1/4 t of cayenne. I think it could be the ginger. Next time I will try using only 1 T instead of 2.

  12. This was delicious!!!! Followed the recipe exactly, but will say the lentils were not cooked enough. Ended up just throwing on stove top for another 10 minutes. Will try to next time to set timer for 12 minutes on pressure cooker. That should do it. But otherwise, the most delicious thing I’ve cooked in a long time!!!






  13. I was initially excited that the cook time for this recipe was only 10 minutes but unfortunately 10 minutes in the instant pot yielded very uncooked lentils – we needed to cook them much longer for them not to be rock hard!

  14. Wow. Sylvia, you are a genius! Thanks so much for helping with my questions prior to me making this amazing dish. This is a total keeper. Next time will definitely be trying the fenugreek leaves (all specialty stores are closed due to COVID) and naan. I CAN’T WAIT TO EAT MORE! 🙂






  15. I really enjoyed this. Only things I did differently was add runner beans, used veg stock and added Thai basil with coconut flakes on top. Lovely flavours for an autumn night dinner.






  16. A little bland fit an Indian dish. Too much garlic, not enough diverse seasonings. It’s okay but nothing special






Our Latest Recipes